Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, November 1, 2015

When you think of persecution do you ever think of it as a blessing from God? We may think that it is something that we are going through only because we are Christians, but I doubt that we think of it as a blessing. Let me help you consider why it is a blessing for Christians to be persecuted. One of the most famous parables that Jesus tells us is the parable of the seed and the sower. As Jesus explains there are times in which people readily hear the word of God, but then it is choked out by the cares of the world. All that the world has to offer can look to our hearts as great treasures. We are tempted to become friends with the world so that we can partake in all that it has to offer. 

One thing that persecution does for us is show us that the world is no friend of Christians because it is opposed to the message of the gospel. What can look painful and hard can actually be a blessing for the Christian. When we go through persecution even the smallest or most trivial kind we soon realize that we are hated by the world. This allows us to loosen our grip upon the things of the world. Many of the things which we hold onto are good things within themselves. They can be anything from comfort to family relationships. However, they can become problems when we set them up as ultimate things. As we come to the cross we realize that there is not room in our hearts for the idols that we have set up and for Jesus, one or the other must win out. Persecution can serve as a catalyst for us to let go of those things that we hold so dear and in turn cling to Christ. We know that Jesus was also hated by the world. He calls us as his disciples to walk in his ways and this means being persecuted for his sake. However, he does not call us to this and then forsake us. He is always present and a very present help in danger. Let us approach him this Sunday with a willing heart to obey him no matter what comes our way and pray that despite our circumstances he would bless us with his presence. 

THE WORD

Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:10-13
Sermon: Prepare for Persecution

SONGS

Holy, Holy, Holy (arr. Traditional)
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Who is On the Lord’s Side? (arr. Shane Martin)
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You Never Let Go (Matt Redman)
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Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah (arr. Traditional)
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Song of Preparation: In the Hour of Trial (arr. Jeremy D. Goodwyne)
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Song of Response: All Must Be Well (arr. Matthew Smith)
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